Saturday, June 25, 2016

Oil falls after Brexit vote, pushing prices even lower


I concluded All Hell breaks loose after the U.K. votes to leave the E.U. with a note about a silver lining of the vote.
In the short term, the only good news out of all this is that oil will become cheaper.  When the dollar rises, oil nearly always falls.  I'll cover that in tomorrow's entry.
When I last looked at the oil markets in WXYZ on rising gas prices for May, I reported WTI at $47.75 and Brent at $48.72 on May 20 after peaking on May 18, when WTI hit $48.95 and Brent hit $49.85.  WTI stayed below $50 until June 3, when it broke above $50 before setting its high for the year so far at $51.84 on June 8.  It promptly fell, dropping below $50 on June 10 and staying there until Thursday, when it closed at $50.11.  Then Leave won Thursday's vote.
Oil prices dropped Friday but erased some overnight losses after the U.K.’s vote to leave the European Union triggered a selloff across markets.

U.S. oil prices settled down $2.47, or 4.9%, at $47.64 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, after falling as low as $46.70 a barrel in overnight trading. Brent, the global benchmark, had traded as low as $47.54 a barrel but settled down $2.50, or 4.9%, at $48.41 a barrel on ICE Futures Europe.

Both contracts posted their biggest one-day percentage declines since February.
For this weekend, at least, both crude oil futures are below where they were a month ago.

All of this is happening while the price at the pump is already going down, as WXYZ reported two days ago in Falling gas prices across metro Detroit.


As the video reported, Gas Buddy listed the Detroit average at $2.51 and the Michigan average at $2.52 on Wednesday.  Today, those numbers have fallen to $2.49 for Detroit and $2.48 for Michigan.  True, they are higher than the previous report's $2.35 even with oil essentially the same or lower, but that's the effect of driving season, which always pushes prices up.  On the bright side, local retail prices are lower than they were on June 11, when the Detroit average peaked at $2.72 and the Michigan average fell off a plateau at $2.76.  They're also cheaper than this time last year, when regular was selling between $2.93 and $2.97.

As for what the future holds, Oil-Price.Net lists RBOB at $1.52, which is not only down 5.15% from Thursday's close, but also more than a dime lower than its $1.64 last month.  I expect retail gas prices will continue to drop this coming week before rising during the 4th of July weekend.  Then they'll start their long slide down for the rest of the year.  Maybe I'll break out Limbo Kitty next month.

Friday, June 24, 2016

All Hell breaks loose after the U.K. votes to leave the E.U.


In Brexit vote today, I hoped that the British voted to remain.  They didn't.  As Krugman phrased it, they had a choice between bad and worse and they chose worse.  Two of the headlines from Reuters I read when I woke up this morning explain the reaction.

First, 'Explosive shock' as Britain votes to leave EU, Cameron quits, which is the number one story on the site right now.
Britain voted to leave the European Union, forcing the resignation of Prime Minister David Cameron and dealing the biggest blow to the European project of greater unity since World War Two.

Global financial markets plunged on Friday as results from a referendum showed a 52-48 percent victory for the campaign to leave a bloc Britain joined more than 40 years ago.

The pound fell as much as 10 percent against the dollar to touch levels last seen in 1985, on fears the decision could hit investment in the world's fifth-largest economy, threaten London's role as a global financial capital and usher in months of political uncertainty. The euro slid 3 percent.
Reuters has a strong financial slant to its coverage, which explains the third paragraph.  It also explains the headline to the next story, which is currently the third most read there: World stocks routed as Britain votes for EU exit.
World stocks saw more than $2 trillion wiped off their value on Friday as Britain's vote to leave the European Union triggered 5-10 percent falls across Europe's biggest bourses and a record plunge for sterling.

Such a body blow to global confidence could prevent the Federal Reserve from raising interest rates as planned this year, and might even provoke a new round of emergency policy easing from all the major central banks.

Risk assets were scorched as investors fled to the traditional safe-harbors of top-rated government debt, Japanese yen and gold.

Almost $1 trillion had been lost from European share prices ahead of what is expected to be a nearly 4 percent fall on Wall Street ESc1 when it opens later.

London's FTSE .FTSE dropped almost 5 percent while Frankfurt .GDAXI and Paris .FCHI fell 6 to 8 percent. Italian FTMIB, Spanish .IBEX and European bank stocks .SX7P all headed for their sharpest one-day drops ever.

Worries that other EU states could hold their own referendums were compounded by the fact that markets had rallied on Thursday, seemingly convinced the UK would vote to stay in.
The Dow closed yesterday at 18,011.07 with the S&P 500 ending the day at 2,113.32.  Those are very high numbers, and if the UK had voted to remain, both might have continued on to new highs, beating the record close of 18,312.39 on May 19, 2015.  Instead, expect the Dow dropping to 17,290 and the S&P falling to 2029 by today's close.  In fact, that's already happening, as Wall St. plunges at the open after shock Brexit vote.
U.S. stocks plunged at the open on Friday, with the Dow Jones average falling more than 500 points, after Britain's vote to quit the European Union delivered the biggest blow to the global financial system since the 2008 financial crisis.

Investors worried about the outlook for the world economy sought refuge in the dollar and other safe-harbor assets such as gold and U.S. Treasury bonds, while dumping riskier shares. The yield on the U.S. 10-year bond hit its lowest since 2012.

Banks and tech stocks were among the biggest losers.
If this continues, and the Dow goes into a correction over the next few months that takes it to below 14,650, it makes both Mike Alexander's prediction of a 10,000 point decline in the Dow by the end of 2018 more likely and my prediction of a recession beginning by the end of 2017 more likely to come true.

All the above is just the financial fallout.  Follow over the jump for the political responses.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Brexit vote today


As I write this, voters all over the United Kingdom are voting on whether to remain in or leave the European Union.  John Oliver explains the issues and offers his pro-remain opinion in Brexit.

Britain could soon vote to leave the European Union. John Oliver enlists a barbershop quartet to propose a smarter option.
Oliver isn't the only public supporter.  Krugman is, too.  However, he's less enthusiastic about it, calling it a choice between bad and worse.  Still, who am I to disagree with both John Oliver and Paul Krugman in a topic that I'm not a bigger expert in than than they are?  So, I hope the British vote to remain.  I'll have to wait until tomorrow to see if they do or choose to leave.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Miss Michigan on diversity and #BeingAmerican


I blog very little about beauty pageants, here or elsewhere.  I've only mentioned the phrase "beauty pageant" once on this blog in a passage I quoted in 'Divergent' and other teen dystopias, which means that I didn't even write it.  I did write about Miss USA in Univision to Trump: "You're Fired!"  That was in the context of Donald Trump's offensive comments that I covered in Trump is Penguin for President.  Other than that, nothing.  I have to go back six years to a LiveJournal entry to read something from me about beauty pageants and their contestants.*

That written, this year's Miss Michigan has moved me to blog about her here.  I'll let her speak for herself in Day with Miss Michigan 2016 from MLive.

The recently crowned 2016 Miss Michigan, Arianna Quan talks with MLive reporter Brandon Champion at the Holiday Inn on Sunday, June 19, 2016 in Muskegon, Mich.
Three paragraphs in particular from the accompanying article stand out, along with the headline: From China to Miss Michigan: Arianna Quan says America must embrace its diversity.
Her multicultural heritage is also a point of pride. As Miss Michigan, Quan will advocate for her platform, "Being American: Immigration & Citizenship Education," in an effort to help Americans realize the true diverse dream that is the United States of America.

"During this election year I realized how important it was for immigrants and naturalized citizens especially to speak out about their experiences in this country," she said. "We are so diverse and it's so important for all of us to embrace that. That's why my platform is what it is and hopefully going to Miss America in this election year I can raise awareness about what it means to be an American."

Her timing is pretty good, too. Since June is Immigrant Heritage Month and July is National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month. Both month-long initiatives should provide plenty of opportunities for Quan to speak on issues that have affected her directly.
Quan has an entire page on her website devoted to her #BeingAmerican campaign.  She also has this message on her site's home page.
My name is Arianna Quan and I am currently attending the College for Creative Studies in Detroit studying Transportation Design. When I am not drawing cars or using power tools I am out and about promoting my platform through the Miss America Organization; Being American: Immigration and Citizenship Education.

As the first Asian-American Miss Michigan and to be a naturalized citizen, I find it absolutely imperative to speak out on subject matters that so many immigrants and foreign born citizens face in our ever polarizing society. Obstacles like sexual assault, mental health, gender inequality and beyond are ubiquitous yet exacerbated from the marginalized perspective of a minority. As this election year has revealed some sobering and enlightening perspectives, the time is now to step forward as a first generation American and encourage fellow foreign and US born citizens to engage and learn from one another.

Along with my personal cause I am a strong supporter for MAO’s national platform: promoting women in STEM – Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. With the automotive industry in serious need of young ladies, I aim to use my education as an extension and focus while talking about STEM and the arts to young girls.
A beauty pageant contestant promoting progressive causes and STEM education for women.  I support all of this, so I support her.  Good luck in Atlantic City, Miss Michigan!  I'll be rooting for you this September!

Follow over the jump for the footnote.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Happy World Giraffe Day 2016!


Last year, I missed World Giraffe Day, not only because I didn't know about it until a few days later, but also because it fell on a Sunday which was also Father's Day and the Solstice--three holidays in one!  This year, the holidays fall on consecutive days, Father's Day on Sunday, Summer Solstice on Monday, and World Giraffe Day today.  How convenient!

Enough meta.  Watch and listen to Radiowavenews explain World Giraffe Day 21 June.

The longest day of the year in the northern hemisphere and longest night of the year in the southern hemisphere is a perfect day to celebrate the world's tallest animal!
Happy World Giraffe Day!

Monday, June 20, 2016

Full Strawberry Moon on Summer Solstice 2016


Happy Summer Solstice!  Enjoy this video about the celestial event!

Summer solstice 2016 is a once in a year event when you will find that days will be much longer as compared to the night or summer solstice will be the longest day of the year.  Solstice means stopping the sun so that it will attain a constant position but this event is wildly celebrated and welcomed by the people.  This year you will find the summer solstice 2016 on the 20th of June.
For more, read Brad Plumer's The summer solstice is Monday: 7 things to know about the longest day of the year on Vox.
The summer solstice is upon us: Monday, June 20, will be the longest day of 2016 for anyone living north of the equator. If pagan rituals are your thing, this is probably a big moment for you. If not, the solstice is still pretty neat. This year’s even includes a "strawberry moon," the first time that’s happened in 70 years.
Oh, yes, about that Strawberry Moon...
According to the Old Farmers’ Almanac, full moons in June were traditionally referred to as "strawberry moons" by Native Americans because that was the month strawberries were picked. In Europe, where strawberries aren’t native, full moons in June were known as "honey moons" or "full rose moons."

In 2016, the strawberry moon will happen to coincide with the summer solstice — the first time that’s happened in 70 years. This may strike you as a meaningless cosmic coincidence, but if you get a kick out of this stuff, the Slooh Observatory is hosting a strawberry moon viewing party.
First a full moon for Christmas and now this.  Cool.

For more full moon names, read The Wolf Moon, the first full moon of 2012, is tonight, which was the eighth most read entry of the first year of this blog.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

'Star Wars' baby names for Father's Day


Anakin: Baby Name of the Day

I concluded Examiner.com article on Chamber of Commerce endorsements by telling my readers "Stay tuned for a parent-themed entertainment entry on Father's Day.  Right now, I'm planning on following up on Baby names inspired by fandom for Mother's Day with Star Wars names."  I concluded that post with "I would bet on a lot of Finns, Poes, and Reys over the course of the next six years."  Why do I expect that?  Look at the following graphs from Quartz's After each Star Wars film come the Star Wars babies.


(Anakin and Padme)

Yes, after the prequels, both names became more common.  Anakin has staying power as it rose in popularity rose 48 spots from 960th in 2014 to 912th in 2015 according to the Social Security Administration.
Anakin        +48     912     960
Arya           +15     201     216
Khaleesi     -60     816     756
Here is the rank popularity of the name updated to 2015.


What does Anakin mean?

The power of "Star Wars" began with the first film in 1977, as the following graphs from Quartz show.



(Luke and Leia)

It even worked for minor characters.


(Han and Lando)

If Lando got a boost as a name, imagine what will happen to Finn, Poe, and Rey over the course of the next five to eight years while the sequel trilogy plays out.  I can and that's why I made my prediction.

With that, I wish my readers a Happy Father's Day!

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Examiner.com article on Chamber of Commerce endorsements

Donna Lasinski, wearing red in this photo of her and other local politicians in Ann Arbor, was endorsed by the Michigan Chamber of Commerce for state representative Thursday.
Credit: State Representative Gretchen Driskell (with permission)
Lasinski endorsed by Michigan Chamber of Commerce in state house primary
Donna Lasinski of Scio Township earned an endorsement in her campaign Thursday to replace Gretchen Driskell of Saline in the Michigan House of Representatives.  The Michigan Chamber of Commerce endorsed the Ann Arbor School Board member along with twenty-two other candidates for State Representative running in open primaries.

"Today, we are pleased to announce the Michigan Chamber's endorsement of 23 outstanding individuals for the State House," Michigan Chamber President and CEO Rich Studley said in a press release. "All of these candidates have demonstrated a commitment to free enterprise and a sincere desire to make Michigan the best state in the country to live, work, raise a family or build a business."

Lasinski is competing for the Democratic nomination for the Fifty-Second Michigan House District, which covers western and northern Washtenaw County, including Chelsea, Dexter, Manchester, Saline, the southern portion of Whitmore Lake, and the surrounding rural townships.  She is running against Barbara Ryan Fuller of Sharon Township in the Democratic primary election.  The winner will face Randy Clark of Salem, who has no primary opponent for the Republican nomination.
More at the link in the headline, including a thumbnail biography of Lasinski, another endorsement of her, and two statements of non-endorsement; despite the photo coming from Driskell, she has not endorsed Lasinski.  Also, the Michigan Chamber of Commerce has not endorsed any candidates for the primary in two other open State House seats in my beat.

What's not there is this video from MLive:

Donna Lasinski of Scio Township announces her run for the 52nd State House of Representatives seat on Oct. 21.
Right now, I think she's favored, but being endorsed by the Chamber of Commerce might induce some progressives to support her primary opponent.  That should make for a more interesting primary to cover.

Stay tuned for a parent-themed entertainment entry on Father's Day.  Right now, I'm planning on following up on Baby names inspired by fandom for Mother's Day with Star Wars names.

Friday, June 17, 2016

Drink to candidates for the fifth year of Crazy Eddie's Motie News


I concluded Silly candidates, real and fictional, for the fifth year of Crazy Eddie's Motie News with the following warning.
I'm far from done with the presidential election.  Prepare to follow the advice of Bluto from "Animal House" and drink heavily at the prospect of Donald Trump becoming President.

Appropriately enough for a Flashback Friday as well as the anniversary of my first entry on Trump's candidacy, I begin with Drinks and drinking games for Donald Trump and the GOP debates published August 2, 2015.  It ended the year as the tenth most read entry of the fifth year of this blog with 973 page views and 12 comments, which made it the most commented on entry posted during the fifth year of this blog.  It was not, however, the entry that got the most comments during the blogging year just past.  That honor goes to Science fiction speaks to our current anxieties, which had 46 of its 54 comments posted during last year because of a battle with a gaggle of spammers.  That is a story for another entry; time to return to drinks for Trump.

Like my other entries in this retrospective series, I'm being a good environmentalist and recycling what I've already written about how the entry earned its page views, beginning with this passage from Record page views for August 2015 and other monthly meta.
The second entry I shared at both Greer's and Kunstler's blogs as well as all the political groups on Facebook was "Drinks and drinking games for Donald Trump and the GOP debates" published August 2, 2015.  This was the most read of both the Trump entries and the drink entries last month, earning 317 page views, 346 according to the raw counter.  It was the third most read overall and either the second according to the default counter or the first according to the raw counter among all entries posted during August.  It earned another honor, being the most commented on entry with 10 comments.
Here's my comment on Where Candidates Fear to Tread at Kunstler's blog.
I agree with you that Trump is a clown who exposes the lack of seriousness among both the politicians and their constituents, although the latter are quite serious in their rage, if not in the policies they'd liked enacted to satisfy it.  That's why I decided to have some fun with Drinks and drinking games for Donald Trump and the GOP debates.  The viewers aren't going to get any serious responses to the issues you listed, so they may as well enjoy themselves getting blotto to the candidates.
I wrote less about the entry at Greer's blog and more about related ones.  Read my comment on "The Suicide of the American Left" for yourself and see.
"There’s Donald Trump, whose campaign is shaping up to be the loudest invocation of pure uninhibited f├╝hrerprinzip since, oh, 1933 or so..."

And whose candidacy has been the best thing for a media driven by page views and clicks so far this campaign season.  When my wife watched his announcement, she remarked that Trump looked and sounded like The Penguin running for Mayor.  Both of them are cartoons of what a working stiff thinks a rich person should be.  Then his campaign picked up steam and an article I wrote for Examiner.com about his coming in second in a Michigan poll has been the most read story for the past year.  Now that he's in first, the best thing to do about him is to play a drinking game for his campaign appearances and the debates.   Time to stock up on booze.
That wasn't the only time the entry made the top ten.  The Monthly meta for February 2016 also had a paragraph about it.
Two actions propelled "Drinks and drinking games for Donald Trump and the GOP debates" back into the top ten--tweeting the link before every Republican debate and sharing it at The Archdruid Report.  The latter happened when another reader asked what was in a Trump Sandwich.  I responded "I have no idea, but I can tell you six different recipes for Trump cocktails."  Those were enough to earn the entry 156 page views, making it the eighth most read entry of the month.
I also shared it at the political groups on Facebook before every Republican debate.  I expect, if there are debates between Clinton and Trump, I'll be sharing the link then, too.

Trump wasn't the only candidate I wrote a drink recipe for last year.  Follow over the jump for something brown and frothy.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Silly candidates, real and fictional, for the fifth year of Crazy Eddie's Motie News


It's a Throwback Thursday, so it's time to resume where I left off at Alignment charts for the fifth year of Crazy Eddie's Motie News and continue the retrospective of the top posts of the previous blogging year.

The ninth most read entry of the fifth year of this blog was Obi-Wan Kenobi for President and Darth Vader beats Trump.  I could have included it with 'Star Wars' alignment charts for a "Star Wars" themed retrospective, but I already had a history of retrospectives about alignment charts, so I continued with the tradition.  To explain how the entry got its page views, I'll be a good environentalist and recycle what I wrote in Monthly Meta for December 2015.
The third most popular of the four entries I shared at the Coffee Party USA Facebook page in December was also the third most read of the month (notice a pattern here?)  "Obi-Wan Kenobi for President and Darth Vader beats Trump" from December 17th earned 968 page views, 981 according to the raw counter, by the end of December.  I also shared the link at Kunstler's blog.  By March 21, 2016, the post had 1048 page views by the raw counter to put in ninth among all entries posted during the fifth year of the blog.
Behold the power of the Coffee Party's Facebook page!

Follow over the jump to read about an entry that earned its page views in a more traditional way for my blog.